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Careful Where You Put That Tree

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hot-in-the-shade dept.

Science 190

Ant writes "Wired News is reporting that according to Stanford University's atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, forests in the wrong location can actually make the Earth hotter. From the article: 'Plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, so scientists and policy makers have long assumed new forest growth helps combat global warming. At an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco earlier this month, however, Caldeira rolled out a provocative new finding: Trees may be good at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.'"

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Solution: (5, Funny)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335737)

Plant them in antarctica! That's where all the problem is, and it gets way too little sun. Problem solved!

Save the Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336517)

harpoon a tree.

My first post on /. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335740)

And it's firts post! Whoopie Do!

duh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335745)

all insignificant chit-chat. We have only one environmental problem in this world en that is the huge number of people on this planet.
All other problems are just secundary manifestations of this one.

Nah (1)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335747)

Don't worry. If we go on like this, that problem will be solved too!

Re:duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335837)

huge number of people? oh yeah! then why don't u hang yourself.

Uhhh... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335748)

It's not the trees we need to worry about, it's those phytoplankton in the oceans. Whales eat them (therefore we need to nuke the whales).

Re:Uhhh... (1)

FrivolousPig (602133) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335830)

We will have to cut down all the trees too, remember what they taught you about the world before humans cleared the land of trees for farming? Yep the average temp was 423 degrees... damn trees.

Re:Uhhh... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336057)

Burn the forest! Save the Earth!

Re:Uhhh... (1)

Captain Scurvy (818996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336305)

Nuke? Why waste all that tasty whale meat? I say we all come together and have a global whale barbecue.

It's about unity, man! Unity!

Once again... (1)

d3cr33p (629445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335754)

The fact is pointed out that some things are much easier to break then to fix.

Re:Once again... (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335774)

It's not broken, just in a transition between adapted states. 8P
Nature is really tough and will survive if even you and I don't. Merry Christmas!!! ;)

Re:Once again... (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335847)

Nature will survive, but oceanfront property just might not.

Re:Once again... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336067)

There is oceanfront property until the entire continent is submerged.
Actually, at that point the whole continent is oceanfront property, it's just that the front is "up".

Re:Once again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335813)

Or maybe they aren't "broken" to begin with.

I'm so torn (5, Funny)

mcgroarty (633843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335758)

This past week, the New York Times reported on an article in Nature that explained how industrial and automobile pollutants may turn out to have a cooling impact, owing to long-standing misestimation of their ability to deflect the sun's heat.

See, here's where I'm torn: I happen to like global warming. It would be good for farming and would make a greater percentage of the civilized world comfortable for our aging population. But the part where I'm torn is that the articles I'm reading this week tell me that to get my wish, I do precisely what the environmentalists have been urging since the 80s. Drive less and plant more trees, but this time in support of global warming!

Re:I'm so torn (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335800)

"It would be good for farming and would make a greater percentage of the civilized world comfortable for our aging population."

Except that it won't.

a) Rising ocean levels mean less total landmass.
b) For every bit of cold region that becomes livable due to global warming, there's an equal if not greater amount of landmass that gets turned into unlivable and unfarmable desert.
c) Even small increases in temperature can cause significant changes in the weather. One word that sums this up well: Katrina.

Re:I'm so torn (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335881)

Not to mention that just because a cold region becomes warm enough for farming doesn't mean its soil, sunlight, and other aspects will be good for any plants. Tundra soil is no good for farming, and though the earth may be retaining more heat, it's light that matters to plants, of which there is less annually in the more extreme latitudes.

Of course, the GP was joking anyway, so...

Re:I'm so torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336301)

First, we have a floating ice cap that is melting while an ice cap that is situated on land is gaining mass. So, point a is not really an issue

Point b makes the mistake of using temperature to define a desert. The fact is, total rainfall is what determines if a piece of land becomes a desert, and a warm planet has more rainfall than a cold planet, thus increasing the amount of fertile farmland and causing deserts to retreat.

Point c is well taken, although there is no evidence that global warming caused Katrina. You could equally blame global warming for the mild tornado season we had in the US, or you could chock it up to luck or decades/centuries long weather cycles. Considering people are starting to realize that our "solutions" to the "problem" often make it "worse," a wise person would hold off on judgement.

Re:I'm so torn (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336453)

Careful with point b. What makes something a desert isn't exactly either temperature OR total rainfall, or even a combination of the two. What makes something a desert is lack of retained moisture (assuming that it isn't raining hard+frequently enough that most of the time you can't use transient water). This means that kind of soil, e.g., is quite important. (Most deserts favor rocky+gritty...sand is exceptional. Neither retains moisture.)

Also, while the jury is, and will probably remain, out on whether global warming caused Katrina, it's not an unlikely supposition. (Though "cause" here is mainly in the sense that the final straw caused the camel's back to break.) Most climate modelers seem to accept that global warming results in stronger hurricanes. (And "seem" may be the only proper verb. There doesn't seem to be a strong consensus, so it's possible, e.g., that most are reserving their opinion while awaiting more data.)

Re:I'm so torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336384)

One word that sums this up well: Katrina.

One word that sums you up well: pig-ignorant.

Re:I'm so torn (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336479)

Come on now, that's a rather unfair comparison to the pig community.

Re:I'm so torn (5, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336471)

"c) Even small increases in temperature can cause significant changes in the weather. One word that sums this up well: Katrina."

Climatologists have said that at the current rate of global warming a net change in hurricane severity is still quite a ways off.

Katrina was bad only because of where it hit. Any other category 3 would've done the same thing to the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was a category 4 and tore up large chunks of Florida. Not only would Andrew have done to New Orleans what Katrina did, it probably would've been worse, since Katrina was only a category 3 when it hit land for the second time (it was only a category 1 when it hit Florida).

The strongest recorded storm at the time of landfall between 1992 and 2005 was a category 4 (Andrew), not a category 3 (Katrina). Storm severity was worse 13 years ago, when the globe was marginally cooler. Katrina was not a direct result of global warming, it was just an average storm that hit a very ill prepared area.

Re:I'm so torn (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335805)

I'm hoping all that about liking global warming was purely sarcasm, because if global warming does occur,
  1. the polar ice caps will melt and coastal areas will vanish undersea,
  2. thousands of species will find their habitat inhospitable and may go extinct,
  3. tropical storms will become much more intense,
  4. diseases like malaria will spread over wider areas,
  5. and many more bad things will happen [wikipedia.org] .
I think that's a bit of a heavy price to pay just for warming up your winters a little. Man, just wear a sweater or something.

Re:I'm so torn (0)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335840)

You're assuming that global warming is a real event and not just part of a multi-million year global trend.

Re:I'm so torn (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335853)

I'm not assuming anything. All I'm saying is, if global temperatures rise significantly, these things will happen, whether that warming is due to human activity or natural climactic variation. Most of what I said just follows from common sense if you think about what would happen on a hotter Planet Earth. Basically, I just wanted to say that global warming isn't something benign that you should be rooting for.

Re:I'm so torn (4, Funny)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335859)

Well, we actually can root for it.. if you live far enough inland. I live on the NY/MA border and wouldn't mind the distance to the ocean halved.

Re:I'm so torn (2, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335886)

We are also rooting for it here in Denver.

Re:I'm so torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335960)

Heh heh. Very droll. My turn.

I, for one, welcome our new parochial gas-guzzling American overlords. "New"? Oh, wait...

Re:I'm so torn (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336078)

You're assuming that global warming is a real event and not just part of a multi-million year global trend.

Um...if global warming is part of a multi-million year global trend then it's a real event, and will really raise ocean levels, along with the other fun stuff mentioned.

Re:I'm so torn (1)

radl33t (900691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335876)

The problem is the flooding of a few hundred of the largest cities on earth. Global warming, whether from humans or not, is a good scare because it introduces laypeople to the necessity of sustainability.

Dont worry, save energy, reduce CO2 emission (3, Informative)

burni (930725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336012)

Do as before, it´s good what you do, do the best you can

- save energy
- use insulation, improve insulation, (it works as a two way effect,
a good insulation stops heat from escaping in the winter,
and in summer stops heat from wandering in (with a house with a good insulation
you need less power too heat up your house in the winter, and you need less
power for your aircooler in the summer, because the chill is preserved as in
a fridge )

The problem is, that the processes involved in trees and the hole climate
system are complex, and hard to understand, and so a single isolated findings
or fact might not concur with the system, even climate isn´t the same as weather, it´s the interaction between local processes and global processes.

On the one hand, tree-letters reflect light (as brigther the letters are, the more light is reflected) and trees also have a cooling ability too,
they transfer water from the roots to the letters where it evaporates and the process of evaporation transfers heat through the vapour, and so providing an insulating layer atop of the ground, preserving the humidity within the ground,
by limiting the vapour from the ground through the layer of trees.

Even trees/wood keep the surrounding area cooler, than bare rocks can do,
the darker the rocks the less they are reflecting the light, the hotter they are.

You can simply check this while walking in the wood and off the wood
on a hot summer day, under the trees it´s cooler, and if you ever made
a walk on rocky grounds on a hot day, you´ll starve too reach a wood or even a single tree to rest, but trees and especially their roots also have an anti-erosion effect, it´s visible there where wood got destroyed in favor
of agriculture, especially visible in brazil,

the ground under the rain-forest, is a 2-5(max) meters layer of earth,
when you burn all the trees you can do a 2 years agriculture,
furtilized through the charred trees, (the expensive trees are choped before)
but after the ground is degraded and leached, the countrymen leave the bare grounds.

Naturally in the rain-forest it rains, and so the rain erodes the degraded grounds and what you can see than is where the rain-forrest is based on .. rocks, pure rocks, hard to bring back, the rain-forest with it´s micro-climate
has a stabilizing effect on the global climate .. so planting alternative trees,
is a try to substitute the binding of CO2 in biomass, but this must
be also said for a limited time, as long as the tree lives.

And there is even a historical missmatch, because in days before the
industrial revolution, there was extremly more wood, the rain forest in south america eroded dramatically over the years, even europe was widly covered with large compounding woods, there was less agrocultured land.

So you can plant the trees without worry, and without mentioning the environmental effects trees have, they are also good for children to
climb or to build a tree-house.

Re:I'm so torn (2, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336074)

  1. Trees in northern latitudes cause warming.
  2. Soot and haze cause cooling.
  3. Burning trees causes soot and haze.
  4. Burn the forest, save the Earth.

This message brought to you by the Prairie Restoration Force.

Re:I'm so torn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336127)

I've always supported the idea of using a nuclear winter to cancel global warming.

Fry - "It's a good thing global warming never happened"
Leela - "It did. But it's a good thing nuclear winter cancelled it out"

Re:I'm so torn (1)

Gary Destruction (683101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336098)

Global warming also means more severe storms with more tornadoes. There have been tornadoes that have literally ripped gashes into the earth, including fields. All that convection adds fuel to the fire.

Re:I'm so torn (2, Insightful)

Reziac (43301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336244)

The story also fails to note that huge swaths of temperate Europe and North America *used* to be forested, which are now cleared and in use as farmland.

Tho I feel compelled to point out that both the somewhat warmer climate of the early middle ages, and the "Little Ice Age" that followed (and helped bring on the "Dark Ages") happened before most of these primeval forests were cut.

How many more contradictions can the theory of locally-controlled global warming support, before the sun gets disgusted with the whole idea and fries all of us to a crisp?

right but.. (5, Insightful)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335760)

Of course, but cutting down trees certainly won't save the environment either.. Trees do not deplete our ozone.. they simply freshen the air, and clear up part of the atmosphere where smog, and other air pollution rests..

a big part of their argument is that the smog acts almost as if its sunblock.. ultimately making the temperature on earth cooler.. but you can't honestly say, that we need to pollute more, just so we can have our sunblock on ;-) we need to be thinking LONGTERM which is the most important factor.. yes, if we slowly decrease our use of gas-guzzlin' bitches, it will get hotter on earth.. if we plant trees, it will clean up the polluted air which acts as our sunblock, making the earth much hotter.. but hey, we better start now, because it'll be twice as hot, if we wait too long..

Re:right but.. (1)

silverkniveshotmail. (713965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335846)

Of course, but cutting down trees certainly won't save the environment either.. Trees do not deplete our ozone.. they simply freshen the air, and clear up part of the atmosphere where smog, and other air pollution rests..



Not to mention help prevent erosion and landslides.

Re:right but.. (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335856)

Trees do not deplete our ozone.

Ozone? what does any of this have to do with ozone?

Re:right but.. (2, Interesting)

skids (119237) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335893)


He jumped threading... it's a reference to the comment that smog reflects heat. Which really doesn't say anything about greenhouse gasses, just aerosols -- greenhouse gasses still warm the earth. But aerosols may cool it by causing brighter clouding. I don't think that's particularly worth it, because the pollutants in question, as a batch, also deplete ozone, and have numerous direct effects on human health and the biosphere. Typical NYT pollyannaism, taking a Nature article like that out of context to say "oh everything's peachy. Smog is good."

Anyway the only thing to do about warming now is figure out how to ride it out and get it to end sooner -- nothing we do can make it go away at this point with the peat moss melting and releasing all that methane.

Trees are also good because (3, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335770)

"planting trees has a variety of environmental benefits unrelated to global warming, such as restoring threatened animal habitats and preventing the erosion of topsoil."
-- Carbonfund spokesman Craig Coulter

Another thing (1)

tentimestwenty (693290) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336347)

This is only anecdotal evidence, but in evergreen forests in the North East, the forests actually are much cooler than the open areas. Sometime in summer, walk into a densely forested area and it can be 10 degrees cooler. Even if the trees are just acting as shade, I don't think they're doing much of anything to increase the temperature. Maybe it's different in other parts of the world but surely the total tree-heat is millions of times less than BURNING things.

Obvious fix... (1)

connah0047 (850585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335780)

The obvious solution is to cut down all the trees.

Mankind is ignorant (0)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335781)

of nature. We've worked hard over the past few centuries to cut, burn and concrete everything. Mother Nature IS going to bite us in the ass in return.

Our refusal to respect and live in harmony with nature will be our undoing.

Re:Mankind is ignorant (1)

Aurix (610383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335869)

Oh dear. Was that just recited off some "enviro-friendly" website verbati, somewhere?

Do you realise that there are far less eco-unfriendly emissions today than there were 30 years ago?

Perhaps "mankind is ignorant", but posting such an ill-thought out comment is clearly more ignorant.

Re:Mankind is ignorant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335883)

We do live in peace with mother nature, we Aint nothing but mamels.
Mother nature just doesn't look like she did back when she was a hot teenager.
She already went through menopause(The dino's took the heat on that one) so she proberbly just going to look worse as we go along, and eventually she'll retire and will get a new mother (I hear Mars is eager for the post). Theres nothing we can do really, it's the natural cycle of life.

(Why's it natural when some species of planton destroys half an ocean, but unnatural when I refuse to shit in the forest just because the species i decend from does so?)

Re:Mankind is ignorant (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336061)

We've worked hard over the past few centuries to cut, burn and concrete everything. Mother Nature IS going to bite us in the ass in return.

Allergies, asthma, mad cows, falling sperm counts, and mutant flu superstrains of doom: Nature's bitch-slaps.

Re:Mankind is ignorant (1)

tomcres (925786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336138)

Mother Nature IS going to bite us in the ass in return.

You know, some people actually like that kind of stuff.

There's one solution! (3, Funny)

Wingfield (872389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335786)

We must run frantically to this new train of thought, and cut down all trees. However, before doing that, we must destroy any evidence that trees were ever beneficial in the first place. Minitrue will deal with this. 2+2=5

So... (2)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335787)

It would seem then, that the reforestation of large tracts of former farmland in the Northeastern USA over the last 150 years or so isn't neccessarily a good thing, climate-wise?

Fascinating.

-jcr

Re:So... (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335912)

It would seem then, that the reforestation of large tracts of former farmland in the Northeastern USA over the last 150 years or so isn't neccessarily a good thing, climate-wise?

I don't think you can say "climate-wise". Maybe tree-locally temperature-wise it is hotter than if it were a giant mirror there or maybe desert is all that can be asserted.

I'm not sure what the article is comparing against. So, instead of green trees if there were white or glass concrete buildings? It can't be parking lots since they're black and absorb more heat or can't be grass since it's also green.

This is exactly what happens when science becomes a politics tool. People want to find a result and they latch onto a paper that says what they want and ignore everything else that might say anything else to the contary. So, we have reporting on a paper on a science journal.

Re:So... (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336296)

So, instead of green trees if there were white or glass concrete buildings?

Farmland, more likely.

-jcr

Re:So... (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336446)

That's not what I'm seeing at all. If anything, the reforested former farmland is now being bulldozed to emptyness so a huge McMansion can go up on it, perfect grass will cover the entire lot and there's not a single tree left from before the bulldozer. It's disheartening to see the street I once lived on go from a nice place to walk in the shade to a barren asphalt lane.

Someone tell the UAE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335796)

In the UAE, the government is trying to forest the desert.

An article from 1995:
"the UAE has planted more than 100 million trees"

http://www.wrmea.com/backissues/1295/9512052.html [wrmea.com]

I wonder how many more trees have been planted since '95.

Re:Someone tell the UAE (1)

jzeejunk (878194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335819)

FTA Forest growth in equatorial areas, on the other hand, reduced global temperatures in the simulation because the warmer air in these regions allows more moisture to evaporate from the leaves of trees.

I'm pretty sure it has similar effects in the UAE region also.

Re:Someone tell the UAE (1)

Queuetue (156269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335822)

Now that's cool. I hope it's a success - imagine a future where all terraforming will be done by Abu Dhabi/Arabian descendants. This would be a very cool modern "killer app" for thier culture, and a way to finally earn some (overdue) respect from the west - without resorting to ... unsavory and extreme methods.

Don't worry, be happy! (2, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335809)

After reading years of Global Warming articles, I realize there is nothing man can do about it. Nature is a much greater force than mankind. It was here before we arrived on the scene and will be here after we all die out from a virulent disease born from unsanitized telephones. My worry is that all the efforts lead by environmentalists will lead to a massive ice age due to over compensation and Mother Nature's bad disposition about being screwed with.

Someone still has to explain to me how Mars has a Global Warming issue while neither or the Republicans have ever set foot on the red planet.

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (-1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335871)

Someone still has to explain to me how Mars has a Global Warming issue

What the devil are you talking about? The average temperature is -63 C with the highest temperature being 20 C. I'd hardly say Mars is currently suffering from Global Warming.

If you're going to make a stupid post, at least get your facts right. Sheeesh

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (1)

Zaatxe (939368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335963)

What is warm for you? 50 C (122 F) may be too hot for you to stand, but that could be freezing for the bacteria which lives in a volcano. Don't forget that Mars is further from the Sun than Earth. Maybe 20 C over there is way darn hot! All is a matter of point of view.

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (5, Informative)

toupsie (88295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336023)

What the devil are you talking about? The average temperature is -63 C with the highest temperature being 20 C. I'd hardly say Mars is currently suffering from Global Warming. If you're going to make a stupid post, at least get your facts right. Sheeesh

Since it is Christmas, I shall be kind to such a response. Mars [space.com] is [newscientist.com] experiencing [newscientist.com] Global [nasa.gov] Warming [sfgate.com] .

So is NASA lying? Or don't you believe in their facts?

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336386)

I still don't see your point: what does it matter of Mars is warming? Or Venus? Or Pluto? I don't live on any of those planets.

Why would there be a correlation between warming on Mars and warming on Earth?

In fact, I'd say the climate situation on Mars is so utterly divorced from the climate situation on Earth that it's pretty disingenuous to compare the two in the terms you have. It's just solipsistic handwaving.

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336409)

Why would there be a correlation between warming on Mars and warming on Earth?

Well, this is just a guess, but maybe because they have the same heat source?

It would be far more stunning if there weren't a correlation. (And of course you are aware that "correlation" is a continuous variable, right, not just a binary true/false value? Just checking.)

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336499)

Despite your ability to use big words, you seem to totally have missed the point of the parent post which was to refute the claim of the grandparent, and that being that Mars is not experiencing global warming....

Will lead to ice age in Europe (1)

RedLaggedTeut (216304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335897)

Paradoxically, global warming might lead to an ice age in Europe because the gulf stream will stop flowing due to a lower heat gradient. This will at least lead to harsher winters (which might call for even more fuel burning under the current housing conditions)

Re:Will lead to ice age in Europe (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335932)

And that happened around 600 years ago... before the invention of the automobile or factories or evil clearcutting companies. I don't understand why people find it so hard to believe that the changes occuring on our planet are out of our control and will happen whether we existed here or not. Humanity has only existed here a fraction of that time (roughly 6000 years according to my Bible, yuck yuck yuck) and the earth is billions of years old and has changed temperatures thousands of times.

Re:Will lead to ice age in Europe (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336251)

I'm wondering if instead of stopping flowing, the Gulf Stream might flow more to the north and less to the east?

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336147)

Give it time. The global warmists will come up with *some* explanation on how it's mankind's fault, however convoluted and illogical.

Are you saying humans have an impact or do not? (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336359)

Nature is a much greater force than mankind.
My worry is that all the efforts lead by environmentalists will lead to a massive ice age due to over compensation and Mother Nature's bad disposition about being screwed with.

If nature is a greater force than mankind, then how would the efforts of environmentalists have any impact at all?

Re:Don't worry, be happy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336459)

Someone still has to explain to me how Mars has a Global Warming issue while neither or the Republicans have ever set foot on the red planet.

Just because everything the Republicans touch is fcked up does not mean all thing fcked up are because of Republicans.

Evaporative cooling effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335816)

He conciders it in the area of the Equator but doesn't for the rest of the areas. Error found!

Oh damnit (2, Funny)

Cmdr_earthsnake (939669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335826)

Too late I already got my christmas tree, oh well I guess I should throw it out... wait! your meant to do that on new years.. doh doh doh doh doh :P

Balance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14335839)

Maybe we just need more beavers in the right places.

They are missing the point... (3, Interesting)

pinkboi (533214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335873)

The change in the atmospheric composition is happening rapidly while new forests are not appearing rapidly. Climate change is okay as long as it doesn't happen so fast humankind and the critters and plants we share the planet with can't adjust in time. Rather than worrying about minor influences, we should look at the biggest influences (hell, water vapor contributes to global warming). This research, however, should stop people from thinking they can plant their way out of the situation.

tradeoffs.... (2, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335877)

.....if you look at all the benefits, the trade is worth it. Trees-plants in general- are very necessary for the health of the planet over-all, and provide us with numerous useful products. Well, yes,this is obvious, but still, I wouldn't be afraid of planting more trees. Growing plants are one of the only ways we have currently to harness nuclear fusion, which is the sunshine we receive. So the question really gets to more energy-good or bad? From my perspective, more energy wins. Like where is the problem if one day we determine we have too many trees? That just means more affordable housing and furniture and paper and other forest related products like foodstuffs and biomass for energy conversion. Still a win for hoo-mannzz.

Wait a minute... (3, Funny)

bujoojoo (161227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335879)

Forests now cause global warming? Next they'll say that volcanoes cause global cooli... Uh, nevermind...

Re:Wait a minute... (2, Interesting)

jcuervo (715139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335922)

You should not use your fireplace, because scientists now believe that, contrary to popular opinion, fireplaces actually remove heat from houses. Really, that's what scientists believe. In fact many scientists actually use their fireplaces to cool their houses in the summer. If you visit a scientist's house on a sultry August day, you'll find a cheerful fire roaring on the hearth and the scientist sitting nearby, remarking on how cool he is and drinking heavily. -- Dave Barry, "Postpetroleum Guzzler"

Don't photovotaics have the same problem ? (3, Interesting)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335888)

If in the name of lower greenhouse gas emissions we start putting photovoltaic cells all over the place, won't their dark surfaces do the same thing as the trees?

Re:Don't photovotaics have the same problem ? (1)

Aranth Brainfire (905606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336200)

I'm no expert, but I would hazard a guess that the overall effect of a cell heated by the sun might be a little bit less than that of a power plant that burns things. Although it could be similar I guess, considering the power output of photovoltaic cells, but you still have to consider emissions.

and.... (4, Funny)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335901)

Somewhere ... deep within the hollows of suburbia ... a logging company executive is feeling cautiously optimistic for 2006.

Re:and.... (1)

Bobibom (853777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335930)

Aren`t you all tired of that "we`re all gonna die here" thing?

headline (1)

eagl (86459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335911)

I can see the headlines now...

U.S. leads world in new woodlands increases that cause global warming - Largest increase in history under President Bush!

Oh, come on. (2, Insightful)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335944)

Without even reading the article, think about this logically. What is most of the land mass in the world covered with? Trees, shrubs, plants, etc. There are a few extremely arid places that don't grow trees, but they probably did at one point in time. And at higher elevations, the growth can't survive, but that is a small percentage by area. But even in the very dry southwestern USA, plants grow all over the place. So, if the idea of this article is to caution everyone's eco-planning policies so that they don't go planting trees carelessly, then I call B.S. Now if someone was arguing for terraforming the Sahara or is trying to analyze large swaths of plankton or algae on the surface of the ocean, this might be useful. But your average tree-hugger doesn't need to be worried with this. We've cut down many more acres of trees for farms, plantations, subdivisions, and buildings in the last 100 or so years than we have planted.

What Kind of Trees? (3, Insightful)

Cygnusx12 (524532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335969)

From the TFA ...

but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.

What sort of trees did they use in their simulation? Did They reforest with an even mixture of what trees where natively found in the region? Or even the altitude? The article doesn't say.

Anyone who has spent some time in the woods knows a forest is diverse system. within a few miles walk in New England, you can found varieties of spruce, maple, cherry, oak, among others. All prospering in environments suitable for each. Did their simulation reflect this? Did their simulation reflect "natural" clearing? (Forest fires, die off, etc etc)?

IANAG (not a geologist), but wouldn't there be evidence that North America would've been actually warmer some 400 years ago? I've read that the early settlers would say a squirrel could go from Maine to kentucky, and never touch the ground. Isn't earth warming currently at fractions of this rate? (with all of man's humble efforts?).

Bad, Good, Bad, Good.. (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335971)

Just like the 'research' on eggs, just wait another week and they will be good for you.

George says... (2, Funny)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335985)

"Watch out for that T*R*E*E!"

- George J.

That's interesting. (4, Insightful)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14335996)

That makes a lot of sense, but I have to wonder if other dark things we tend to place in the sun aren't in fact contributing a great deal to the global warming problem, in addition to other factors such as greenhouse gases... I wonder how much more heat is retained in areas with tar roofs and black-top streets and parking lots, as opposed to areas with gravel and dirt roads and shingled/fiberglass roofs.

That aside, this is a very interesting finding. There's no doubt in my mind that the logging industry will use this as an excuse to ramp up production in the face of opposition from environmentalists, but it could also be useful in helping us understand how to control our own climate naturally. Maybe certain kinds of trees and plants reflect more heat than others. Maybe certain arrangements and placements of trees and plants are cooler or hotter than others. Landscaping for climate control, anyone?

Re:That's interesting. (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336246)

And don't forget the old maxims about planting a tree next to your house. The tree absorbs/reflects/whatever the heat coming onto your house, thus reducing your cooling bill in the summer, thus reducing the amount of fuel spent on keeping your house cool, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created in burning that fuel, etc. etc. Planting trees may not have a direct effect on cooling, but the long-term process points in a better direction.

Re:That's interesting. (2, Informative)

Reziac (43301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336283)

Actually, whilst RTFAing, I was inspired to wonder if this study had logging interests behind it.

The problem with localized landscaping is that it fails to take microclimates into account. Frex, Santa Clarita (the next valley north of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley) is actually the terminus of a river valley that reaches all the way to the Pacific Ocean without significant interruption. Used to be at 2.30 every afternoon the ocean wind arrived and cooled the SCV down, making summer afternoons pleasant (rather than scorching hot in the usual manner of the high desert). And so it was until galloping development completely filled the midvalley, bringing with it a solid swath of new landscaping. The increased humidity from said landscaping was enough to create a permanent pocket of heavy air that blocks the afternoon ocean wind -- so now the SCV stays hot until after dark. This happened in the space of only a couple years, immediately following the first big growth spurt.

But speaking from 21 years' observation, this doesn't seem to have affected any of the surrounding area in any significant way.

shady research (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336088)

don't trees shade the ground from getting hot? if the trees are getting hot and the ground isn't, what is the difference between trees and no trees?

happy christian bastardized pagan holiday.
its really siberian shaman reindeer piss drinking day.

/drinks up

George W Bush Call (1)

kilimangaro (556424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336115)

Trees are parts of the axis of evil. Lets nuke them all

Re:George W Bush Call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336129)

The Bush jokes are old and tired. Find a new chant.

bringing my kid to one (0, Offtopic)

falkryn (715775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336155)

I've been using linux for a few years now, and am a sys admin in likewise at a uni. That said, apart from trying to co-found one at the college I went to (didn't really pan out to much while I was there), I'd never been to a LUG.

Just recently however I started attending the one in my city, to bring my oldest there (7 years old). It's really wonderful, gives us some nice time together, and exposes him to linux and part of linux culture. After the first time (which was an installfest, where some fellow there let him play a bunch of linux games on his box) my son asks about going ahead of time and looks forward to it. If something less than interesting for a seven year old is being discussed, I just bring my lappie with free games on it anyhow to keep him entertained (loves wesnoth). That and the the free food of course ;-)

sigh (1)

falkryn (715775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336164)

gah! wrong article...

My experience (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336187)

Working in my chile field (a whopping 15' x 30') the air above it feels noticibly more humid, I assume because of the water vapor being transpired from the leaves. Evaporation means cooling and the air within the plant canopy _is_ cooler not, I believe, just from the soil being shaded by the canopy but because the of the evaporative cooling of the leaves. Additionally, the leaves, although 'dark' are not as dark as the soil. (Now, around northern New Mexico the soil can be pretty red, and if I remember correctly, red and green render as pretty much the same shade of gray. So maybe there are cases where the leaves would heat up more than the naked soil.

The whole point of this (besides the fact that I make a killer mole), is that a case can be made for either side of the argument, and there is so much money at stake the powers-that-be, if they wanted to, could buy any results they needed to make their case: Science is just another whore these days. My personal position is that no matter what the theory du jour is global warming is a fact, and two degrees F. is enormous. So put things back the way they were: more trees, fewer poor people farming inefficiently and way fewer European-derived malicious idiots driving SUVs and trucks that don't do real work.

Of course there are powerful interests whose power and fortunes lie in continuing on the present path and they don't care because they'll always have the money to buy food and air conditioning. But history shows that such interests always fall. The manner of their ending is up to them, but their end always comes, it's a cycle of history that has never been disrupted. Things here won't change until a majority of people in the world stop believing that they'll be swept off to some perfect place and they can defile their current location with impunity.

Uhhh... No. (1)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336258)

How do the trees produce MORE heat than just the sunlight hitting, say, the ground? Presumably the energy is going to all become heat eventually, so it doesn't matter if the trees are doing it instead of the ground, right?

Do climate simulations take this into account? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336291)

This new finding just strengthens my(non-expert relatively ignorant) view that the earth's climate is amazingly complex and the current climate models may still be missing many very significant variables. It seems that we can't even be sure of the real effects of trying to restore the balance, assuming it is even out of balance in the first place. There are that many potentially unforseen past, present and future climate cause-effect cycles where do you start? I've read both sides of the argument on climate change, and not being an expert I really can't decide - so don't bother trying to bombard me with more information from either side, I've already been through it.

At the end of the day the most confident thing I can say, and it's still not a certainty, is that human ingenuity is an amazing thing. If humans needed to migrate off the planet, or create totally artificial enclosed ecosystems within 100 years to survive, I think it would probably be possible. However given human nature etc it may mean that the poor are left behind.

so let me see if I understand.... (4, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336454)

So we don't even know for sure if trees (and their ability to absorb CO2) are net warmers or coolers of the environment....yet we should sign on for hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars in programs which will 'reduce global warming'?

R-i-g-h-t.

Look, I think that it's patently obvious that 5 billion people cooking things, burning fuels, and generally living energy-intensive lives must be warming the planet (whether this is moreso than natural cycles is up for debate). But the whole 'Kyoto' religion smacks of Environmentalist's "Intelligent Design" - ie 'we don't really know WTF we are talking about, but just trust us, this is the RIGHT thing to do!'

Coupled with a healthy dose of white, western intellectualist guilt, and ample resentment of the first world by the third world, (with a dash of anti-globalization thrown in) and I see Kyoto and the efforts to effectively hobble Western Industrial societies as little more than a post-colonial revenge.

We hear many, many stories about how the industrial western societies (mainly the US) have ruined and continue to ruin the world. I'd say that an increase in average human lifespan in 1900 of 44 to whatever it is now (82) is a good thing, brought on entirely through the benefits of industrialized, advanced western societies.

Of course, at the root, environmentalists would be afraid to admit it, but they'd ultimately probably prefer a goodly chunk of these still-living humans to die.

numbers don't lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14336483)

but liars can use numbers to suit their purposes.

I RTFA and also all the responses (including the one from the moron who claimed to be a sysad but posted to the wrong thread... sheesh!).

What I take away from all of this is conveyed in the last line of the article where it said, in effect, "the less we mess with things, the better off we are".

The small family farmer needed a woodlot, vegetable patch and several types of livestock in order to run a farm. That diversity is gone now since city folks wanted to jump up the price of their cars and trucks and greeting cards but only pay a pittance for their food. The independent farmer couldn't produce food for that price so he got bought out by the food-factory conglomerates who got rid of the diversity and headed right straight for monoculture cropping ... to the result that much germ plasm diversity is now forever lost.

And the woodlots and the organic agriculture disappeared, never to return.

Hold on: MOST forests do NOT soak up CO2 (2, Interesting)

8KidsCronie (724585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14336531)

Where do you think the CO2 goes to, anyway? Most of the trees, leaves and roots rot - they are turned back into CO2 by fungi and bacteria. Much of the rest burns up: remember the wildfires of the Western US this year? Tropical forests have very little organic matter in the ground. If they were soaking up CO2, they would be sitting on top of huge layers of branches and leaves etc. Stable tropical and temperate forests have nearly no net CO2 absorption.

The only thing that matters is NET soakin up of CO2. There are two good ways to get this from forests.
First, a Northern forest is usually so cold that a fallen, dead tree does not rot, and turns into peat and eventually (perhaps) coal.
Second, PEOPLE CUT DOWN TREES, and turn them into wood products like houses and paper. If this is permanently sequesterd (e.g., into a home), then this CO2 is removed from the atmosphere [as new trees grow to take their place].

So, to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, cut down MORE trees to turn into homes.
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